ASUS ROG Academy is a new virtual project of Taiwanese PC, component and peripheral equipment manufacturers, which aims to enable Indian gamers to demonstrate their skills and have the opportunity to become professional e-sports players. ASUS will organize this program with the help of AFK Gaming and select six contestants to join ROG Academy. Here, they will be guided by professionals who will guide, train and instruct them to achieve the goal of representing ASUS ROG globally and even globally. With the rapid development of the Indian gaming industry, especially due to the pandemic last year, people can now have a virtual platform that can not only compete with others, but also regard e-sports as their legal profession.
ROG Academy is a one-year program divided into four quarters. Each stage focuses on one of the most outstanding games in the e-sports field, “Counter Strike: Global Offensive.” Registration will start on February 1 and will last until February 10.
Players will go through a rigorous selection process, enter the top six, and have the opportunity to become a member of the academy. According to the company, the last six players will receive rupees. 1,00,000 after successfully completing three months of training. They will also receive a stipend of Rs. 15,000 bonus is paid every month during training.
We interviewed Arnold Su, Head of Consumer and Gaming PC Business of ASUS India’s System Business Group, and Siddharth Nayyar, co-founder and director of AFK Gaming, to learn about ROG Academy, the selection process, potential and more. .
Advertisement Shout: In terms of the overall game market in India, how big is it and what is the growth potential?
Suya (AS): Games can be isolated between hardware and software. In terms of hardware, PC games have grown tremendously since 2016. From 40,000 gaming PCs sold in India in 2016 to 350,000 last year. As far as the country’s e-sports audience is concerned, by 2020, this number should be around 17 million.
Siddharth Nayyar (SN): Since mobile devices have proven to be the gateway to the PC game e-sports field, the general game market has grown a lot. People switch from mobile games to PC games, and then invest in laptops and PCs for a more immersive experience. People are using CS: Go, Valorent and other games to participate in e-sports. With companies such as Riot and Valve investing in e-sports, games and participation in the competitive field are expected to be higher, which proves its growth potential.
Such as: ROG is investing in young people in India, and there are many people in this group. This is one of the main reasons for investment. In addition, as data plans have become more affordable in India, online games and overall games have grown a lot. However, for professional e-sports, there are certain challenges in infrastructure.
Why now, where did this idea come from, and what do you hope to achieve?
Such as: E-sports is already an industry in countries like China, the United States, Europe, South Korea, etc., just like cricket and IPL are in India. Since 2017, ASUS has hosted the ROG Game Championship in India. In the past two years, ASUS has its own ROG TiTans team to participate in the Indian Game Championship. Therefore, there is room for more talents.
Since March 2020, the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent blockade have stopped sports activities. Although it is impossible for players to gather together to participate in the competition, the ROG Showdown competition has attracted many gamers. Moreover, 40% to 50% of the participants are in the same group. Which one suggested why not let more people be prepared and proficient in e-sports competitions? This is the concept of ROG Academy. Through ROG Academy, ASUS is committed to providing appropriate training to make gamers more proficient and enable them to compete globally.
Serial number: This is the first plan of its kind, which has caused damage to the e-sports field.
Regarding the pandemic, what has changed in the past year and has the game been affected?
Such as: The game industry is booming. With fewer entertainment options, people flock to games. Moreover, when people started playing games at home, the demand for better hardware increased, and Asus, as a hardware company, also benefited from it. During the pandemic, casual games have become very popular, so e-sports is expected to become more popular. Even after the pandemic, this trend will continue.
Serial number: The gaming industry has indeed benefited a lot without suffering losses due to the pandemic. The natural development of any game player has evolved from a mobile or laptop to a better laptop or a better PC, and people gradually become the norm.
How do you plan to conduct this course; selection criteria, faculty and staff, what are the materials covered?
Such as: AFK Gaming is helping Asus implement ROG Academy. The basic criterion for applicants is that they must be at least 16 years old. Applicants between the ages of 16 and 18 must obtain the consent of their parents/guardians to participate in the program. 18 years old and above can apply directly. And, the selection process involves two stages.
Serial number: The first stage of the selection process will be an experiment to determine the player’s skills in CS:GO. Strong and comprehensive theoretical and practical analysis will be carried out. The first level is the online selection form, which involves questions asked based on their chosen role (sniper, IGL, rifle). Fifty candidates will be selected as part of the second phase, and they must participate in CS:GO as a mixed team on a server hosted by SoStronK. The team of Marzil and SoStronk will evaluate the 20 players shortlisted. Then, a mini tournament will be held to evaluate the players’ performance in the competitive space. Moreover, a jury composed of the CEO of AFK Gaming, ASUS’s Arnold and SoStronK’s CEO will judge the secondary aspects of the player. Then 6 people are selected from 20 candidates.
How do students participate online and what do they need?
Serial number: There is a recommended setting, but it depends on your playing level. Players can use their own settings, and preferably have a level below 50 ping, finalists will get equipment from ASUS training courses.
Such as: The key is to bring this opportunity to a wider group of gamers. As long as they have the basic settings and can play and participate in games, they will be welcomed.
What does anyone hope to get from it?
Such as: ASUS hopes to provide players with an e-sports platform. Similar to training cricket players, the selected candidates will receive training in CS:GO. ROG Academy aims to make them understand that this is the kind of training required to become a professional player. After three months of training, they will have the opportunity to represent ASUS and ROG in India and globally. So far, the focus is only on CS:GO, and other games will be added in the future.
What are your main challenges in the Indian e-sports market?
Such as: Infrastructure and broadband have been major issues, but the situation is improving. As far as the player base is concerned, India’s overall ecosystem is improving.
Serial number: With a strong game player base, we can further expand to the 2nd and 3rd market in India. If we can develop this market, not only mobile devices but also PC games and e-sports will benefit as a whole. By exposing high-quality Internet and Asus laptops to the Indian market, Indian games will develop rapidly.
Will ROG Academy be limited to PC gamers or for PC and mobile gamers?
Such as: The game ecosystem is very large, including console and mobile games. We are very happy to see more and more suppliers investing in the gaming industry, which may change India’s perception of gaming. Parents were initially skeptical about the profession of gaming, but it is now changing. E-sports will be part of the 2024 Olympic Games as a medal sport, which will further change the concept of parents.
Serial number: As dialogue becomes open and more common, the stigma surrounding e-sports is increasing.
Such as: Currently, the focus is on PC games.
In what way will ASUS support gamers through this program?
Such as: Provide training equipment and professional courses for the final selected candidates. After that, they will have the opportunity to represent ASUS and ROG.
Serial number: This will be a stepping stone for gamers to embark on a professional gaming career. ROG Academy will help them understand the training methods of professional teams. They will receive support for internet expenses, these expenses will be taken care of, coaches will be provided, and travel will be taken care of.